Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good Grief

Kathy sends her love. She is dealing with a serious family illness. Please keep Kathy's father-in-law and the rest of her family in your thoughts. She looks forward to seeing everyone here again soon.

Good Grief. Is there any such thing?

Lucy says it all the time. "Good Grief, Charlie Brown."

I wonder if Lucy would grieve for Charlie Brown. I like to think so, but what I like better is that they are forever suspended in a world of snatched footballs, the Great Pumpkin, and an ace pilot who flies a dog house.

No grief. No call that was never supposed to come, and certainly not come today. The call that doesn't break your heart, but kills a part of it and shuts you down like a burned out light bulb.

The call that makes you crazy.

After the call, Stephanie and I wrote 220,000 words in three months with no plot, precious little conflict, but plenty of good times. I look back at it and see that it was pretty good writing, good characters, and funny dialogue. But no plot. Also, there were pages and pages of description of epic Tolkienian proportions.

Except Tolkien didn't describe bedrooms, cars, shoes, jewelry, laptop cases, silver flatware, demitasse cup, Christmas china, jewelry store windows, jack-o-lantern faces, flower arrangements, cheesecakes, counter tops, and clothes, clothes, clothes.

We knew better. What were we thinking?

Not about the call. That was for sure. And I guess that was the point, though we didn't think so at the time.

I think those 220,000 words made our voice grow up. The voice was there but it was a little squeaky, a little scratchy, a little hesitant. It's odd what you're willing to put on piece of paper when you just don't give a damn. And maybe you have to not give a damn to let your voice come into being.

I don't think anyone knew we were crazy at the time. Why would they have? We ironed our skirts, put on our makeup, and cleaned our toilets. Not in that order. That order would have pointed to crazy.

Does it ever go away? The answer eludes me. Just when you think you've licked it, you have to throw away a pair of shoes and you're right back where you started.

The shoes I threw away today were pink house shoes with a band of sparkly beads and sequins. They had to go. The bottoms were disintegrating and I knew if I kept them, I'd keep wearing them, keep leaving little pieces of plastic sole all over the house. Probably, they would eventually cause me to trip and fall, probably right at the stop of the stairs.

Can't have that.

It was time for them to go. I bought them the summer Stephanie, The Guy, Oldest friend, and I went to New Orleans to meet David. It was June after Karina. I didn't buy the shoes to impress David. I bought them to impress myself and I liked looking at the sparkles. Besides, I wasn't in the business of impressing David. If I had been, it would have taken a hell of a lot more than a pair of twenty dollar house shoes, even if they did sparkle.

I didn't need to impress David because he loved me. He didn't need to impress me either but he never stopped trying.

David was a great gift giver and he understood my tastes perfectly. He gave me so many things. Rare books, fine crystal, sterling silver, hand carved boxes, and even a custom made piece of jewelry once. But he also gave me more mundane things like BBC series DVDs, cooking accouterments, and country CDs. I think he gave me the CDs because we were the only two in the tightest part of our inner circle who embraced the genre.

He gave Stephanie things too. That's her story.

But for certain, he gave us the refinement of our voice.

I'd trade it all for one more hour.


  1. Kathy, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Hope everything is well.

    Jean, I understand what you are saying. I was recently cleaning closets and getting rid of things. For some reason, at this time of my life, I feel the need to lighten my "stuff" and learn to live without so much baggage. Then I came to some personal things which, while I was holding them, brought back such a rush of feelings that I staggered. I had such sweet memories and felt such love holding them - all things I had forgotten but were hidden deep in my mind. Small inconsequential items that had no intrinsic value - only a value to my thoughts. As I stood there holding them it came to me that it was not the "things" but the person I was remembering. I could hear her - "Get rid of this mess! You don't need the clutter!" So, I did. But MY MEMORIES are still with me and so very precious. Those are the things which give me comfort and peace: happy memories of being loved and safe. David is with you always in your heart and your thoughts - that is what is important!

  2. Kathy is in our prayers!! Hope all is well.

    Jean, I have a few things I cling to: photos, ornaments, videos of the kidlet. But after the tornadoes blew through Alabama, I realized that I could lose all those things in a matter of moments. Then I realized that as angry and sad and upset as I would be about losing those precious recorded memories, I would be able to get over the loss as long as I was given the great gift of continuing to make memories with the people I hold close.

    Great post!

  3. I read a book called "Throw Out Fifty Things" where Gail Blahnke encourages the reader to unclutter both mentally and physically. She says the real memories are not in the photographs or mementoes or pink sparkly slippers. They are in the heart. I had to remember that when I moved out of my house and into a small apartment. I've spent an hour a day for the last week going through "stuff" and getting rid of what I don't really need. I have some things in my too-sparse cabinets that I have not used since I moved here in October 2009. I doubt I will ever use them. Hello Goodwill!

    Grief is a process to be worked through. The divorce group I work with uses the 5 stages of grief as its basis -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We grieve many things, not just the physical death. I have grieved the death of my marriage and continue to do so. But I'm working through the process because I know if I don't, I will never survive and thrive.

    I envy you those 220,000 words. I have been unable to write much for the past two years. And I hate it. But I'm taking some steps to see if I can unblock things. Keep your fingers crossed.

    Hugs to Kathy.


  4. They are just things. But oh, I do like my things!